By Sam Bush
It was an otherwise meaningless game in early May, but the fans at Citizens Bank Park might have gotten misty-eyed:
Chooch struck again!
Ruiz hit a three-run double against his old team, Robinson Cano and Danny Valencia homered and the Seattle Mariners beat the Phillies 11-6.
Ruiz earned another standing ovation a day after he returned and was honored with a video tribute that highlighted his career with the Phillies. The former All-Star catcher was 3-for-30 this season before clearing the bases with a liner off the left-field wall in the seventh inning.
“I kind of feel like my legs were not on the ground, it was real special,” Ruiz told the AP. “That was huge for my team and also to see the ovation from the fans, their support, and I said thank you to them, because they were real good to me when I was here, and I’m so happy that they do that.”
Seattle swept the two-game interleague series after rallying from a pair of four-run deficits in a 10-9 win Tuesday.
Tony Zych (2-0) tossed a scoreless inning after Yovani Gallardo allowed three runs and four hits in five innings.
Aaron Altherr hit two homers and Tommy Joseph also went deep for the Phillies, who have lost 10 of 12. Altherr has three-run homers in three straight games.
“He’s relentless,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. “He’s swinging the ball as well as I’ve seen a guy swing.”
Robinson Cano led off the seventh with a single off Joaquin Benoit (0-2). After Kyle Seager walked, Danny Valencia lined an RBI double to right to give the Mariners a 4-3 lead. Guillermo Heredia flied out and Jarrod Dyson was intentionally walked, setting the stage for Ruiz.
His liner, which missed being a grand slam by a few feet, extended Seattle’s lead to 7-3. Fans chanted “Choooch!” and cheered the same way they did for Chase Utley when he hit two homers against the Phillies in his return to Philly last August.
Ruiz caught the final out of the 2008 World Series and spent his entire career as a Phillie before a trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers last summer.
“That was really special to come to Philadelphia and get the ovation the fans gave to me,” he said.
Cano drove one out to the opposite field in left for a 3-0 lead in the third. Valencia connected in the eighth.
“What an offensive day,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “(We) put that nice inning together against Benoit, obviously we know him, but our guys did grind out some at-bats, got some big hits.”